Pamela Berry – co-organiser of the Women’s March and a Masters’ student at MMU is compiling an archive of interviews with participants in the Women’s March on 21 January. This will form a part of the radical collection of the Manchester libraries sound archives and build on the city’s history of campaigning for women’s rights from the suffragettes onwards. From the end of May the archive will be accessible to researchers and to the public in the foyer of the Central Library.
I was invited to talk about my experience of the March and my reasons for taking part. Although the idea of President Trump filled me with dread, I saw the demonstration as a positive expression of feminist politics. I rejoiced in the number of women occupying the public space, in a celebration of feminism. We talked together – new campaigners and veterans, gay and straight, young and old and people from Manchester’s diverse communities. We listened to novice speakers – telling us about their experiences, their fears and hopes. Some of us had marched in the past, maybe the distant past, whereas others were new to campaigning. For some this was a one-off, others have continued to participate in political events on the streets, in organisations or on social media.
For me the March rekindled my campaigning spirit – my political interest is once again political action and I see others recommitting to feminism and working for change in Manchester and throughout the world.
As I set off on that cold January morning I told my neighbour that I was going to smash the patriarchy!
It is going to be a long journey, but we are walking in the footsteps of our radical sisters and thanks to Pamela our words will join theirs in Manchester’s archive.